Thursday, April 30, 2009

And Now For Something You'll Really Like!

*** So, I started writing this post a couple of days ago. My "Tired" whining post was not supposed to stay up so long. But, life intervened as it tends to do. SO without further ado, I move out of my funk... *** :)


Guess what?! I'm done whining.

Do I have the "right" to. Probably, by most people's standards. Frankly, 2009 has... well... sucked so far. And I haven't even shared all of the reasons why here. But you know what?

I'm still a very lucky lady. And I better remember that!

I'm going to do my best to focus on the good things right now. And, hopefully, keeping up this pleasant attitude until May 7 will help yield us good results then!



So, here are some random things I am thankful for. They are NOT in order of importance! Just thinking out loud. Some are small, some are huge. But they are all great. :)



Better start with the obvious for the first 2 ...



1) My kids!!! They are just really awesome little people and never cease to amaze me. The last few days I have noticed it more and more - they have really gelled together as a family in such a wonderful way. When I leave for work in the mornings, I pause, watching Grace and Hana wait for the school bus, goofing around in the driveway. And Abi and Ally already off into their make believe world together (this usually involves a lot of playing "house" which is by FAR Ally's favorite right now - she will happily play baby, mom, dog, whatever but you better play with her!) I am just so proud at how they have come together, attached and bonded. No, things aren't perfect all the time (or even most of the time!) but they really do enjoy each other and can [usually] all 4 play pretty seamlessly.



2) Mark. I get to spend the rest of my life with my [very understanding and tolerant] best friend. What else can I say?



3) Lilacs. I don't have any yet, but even though we hacked up our bush pretty bad last year (it was getting crazy!) I think we will still have some this year and I'm excited. Love the smell!



4) Knowledge and the Ability to Learn. I am very lucky that over the years many doors have opened for me, allowing me to get a wonderful education. And more than that, my time in college/law school really gave me both the desire and the skills to keep learning. Although my career path may take a few twists and turns (and downright stumbles at times...) I know I will carry this ability with me. Unfortunately, there are so many extremely intelligent individuals, especially girls and women, who are not given such opportunities. I'm very thankful that I have.



5) Harry Potter. Seriously, who does not love these books?



6) Airplanes. I really don't think I could handle international travel via steamship. I have a pretty hearty stomach, but ... um, no.



7) Internet. I am addicted. I could totally live without cable (or even TV for that matter, although I do like watching movies) but I would have a very difficult time staying away from the computer for any length of time!



8) My family(ies). Not only am I blessed with a wonderful mom and siblings, but I got a pretty awesome set of in-laws too. Everyone has been very supportive of Mark and I, even when they didn't completely understand our decisions. And we've never doubted how much everyone cares about us. Sadly, I know far too many people who are missing this blessing in their lives, which makes me appreciate it all the more!

9) Keen sandals. Love these.



10)
Dave Ramsey.



To be continued...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tired.

We found out on Thursday that our case has been rescheduled for May 7.  Yes, the last possible date.  Apparently it was done very randomly by the judge - and no one questions that or asks for anything sooner.   


I'm beginning to think "proactive" is a bad word.

Even better, there was a further disclaimer - May 7 is an indefinite date, but they (agency) are fairly comfortable it will happen by then.

I'm not comfortable.

*S* sure as hell isn't.  She's wondering where the hell we are.  :(

**Sigh**

I'm just so tired.  Tired of hoping.  Tired of waiting.  Tired of being disappointed.  Tired of no explanations/miscommunication/bad luck/bad timing.

Fingers crossed.  Prayers.  

Monday, April 20, 2009

Counting in my head...

Hana:  I learned how to count in my head.  For real!


[10 seconds of silence - serious face]

Hana:  I did it!

Dad:  How many did you count to?

Hana:  One.  

We aim high.  ;)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Seriously?!?!?!?! =(

It's a no-go.

The judge had a huge piles of cases to go through today (cases that were up for the first time today, all the cases from the last group with the power-of-attorney problems, and all stragglers (like us) from groups past...)

Rather than the judge going from longest past (us) to recent, the judge only did the cases up for the first time. :( The otherwise waiting families (like us) were rescheduled court dates between April 28 - May 7. We are waiting for AAI to get an email from the attorney to know which date we have.

AAAAAAAARRRRRGGGG!

How can this be so hard? Again and again and again?

Yes, I know. International adoption - expect delays. But seriously? Six months in court? For a case that should've been open and shut?

I know this delay was not our agency's fault. I am not blaming AAI. It is just so incredibly hard to keep taking these hits.

I need a freakin' drink.

Biting my nails...

(Sadly, those of you that know me in "real life" know that I actually am biting my nails...)

Court date. Today.

Probably won't have news for at least an hour and a half. Maybe longer. Need to be productive in the meantime, but failing...

I spoke with our agency earlier this week. It seems that the missing paperwork from the region was in fact delivered to MOWA shortly after our last court date AND our power of attorney is all set as well. So, in theory, we should be a done deal for today.

We have been here before...

I am hanging onto hope that this is truly "it" for us. However, because of the power of attorney situation, there are LOTS of families just from our agency that needed letters to be ready for court today. If we were on the bottom of that pile... well, there is just no guarantying that MOWA made it through every file.

I am doing my best to remain hopeful.

We've had some other drama going on here personally in the last few weeks on top of all of this and I'm just worn down. I could really use some good news. I just can't wait until we hear full confirmation that *S* is truly (legally) our daughter. Hoping that today is the day our luck begins to turn...

If you are the praying type, please keep our family in your prayers today, even generally. We could really use all the help we can get. If prayer isn't your thing - we certainly appreciate any good thoughts/vibes/whatever! :)


Is today the day I get to say, welcome to our family...?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What can I teach you about being black?

This is a topic I struggle with, especially since we have considered moving (and it would likely to be to an even less diverse school district...). So this poem was just so timely... I found it first on Angela's blog and then again over at Owlhaven. But the true credit goes to the author, Dorothy:

What can I teach you about being Black?
Not much,
Because I'm not.
But a I can teach you about pain,
And how to forgive peoples foolish words.
I can show you how to endure suffering,
So that through it Truth will be proclaimed.
I can love you and cry with you,
I can be the she-bear when you are threatened.
We can live where there is a rainbow of people,
and we can learn to love them together.
We can seek out the truth of history,
And not be afraid of the ugliness.
I can open your heart and your eyes
To the painful reality that comesclinging to the back of sin.
And in the end,
I can release you into your destiny,
And wait for you to come home,
With a fuller understanding of who you are
and what you are to be in your life.
Then I can listen as you teach me,
What it means to be Black.

Don't confuse money with happiness.

I liked this article. Although things are very tough right now, for a lot of people, I have to wonder if things would be quite so tough if we, as a society, didn't have so much of our happiness, identity and self-worth tied up in money and material possessions...

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Big Dance

Fire up Spartans!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Trouble with Translation...

One top of everything else, we still have the problem with the Power of Attorneys. :( Just got an email from our agency that indicates that MOWA thus far has not been willing to accept the old (or the new, but un-translated) power of attorney forms (as evidenced by its failure to issue approval letters for court dates this week).

There is a bright spot - the judge apparently did not agree with MOWA's requirement and did allow the new attorney to appear on behalf of the AAI families and may even be assisting AAI to convince MOWA there is no need to make families wait...? We won't know if this worked until Monday or Tuesday, as the MOWA official in charge of such decision is out of Addis until then.

So, fingers crossed on that front. But I am not hopeful.

And since it typically takes a month for translation, etc in Washington D.C. ... things don't look good for passing court at all during April. :(

I don't think a [sad face] really covers this...

Beyond Frustrated.

Our adoption saga just seems to get worse and worse. :(

Guess what. I'm sure this will be an amazing surprise (yes, sarcasm). But, you know all those times we were assured our paperwork was in order and we were just waiting on the MOWA letter? Yep, big fat lie.

Wow, this sounds incredibly familiar.

Well, perhaps I should step back. I'm sure it wasn't a lie. What was the term the agency used? Oh yes, it was a "miscommunication" between the agency folks in Ethiopia and those in Washington. Now I feel better. [insert eye roll]

So here's the deal:

MOWA requires certain paperwork in order to issue their approval letter. Some of it (I believe) comes from our agency (i.e. info on us and our competence as parents, etc) but other documentation is needed from the region that *S* was relinquished in, the Oromia region. We are JUST NOW finding out that AAI requested the paperwork from the Oromia region prior to our December 3rd court date (as they should have).

But it never arrived.

And, over FOUR MONTHS LATER no one has followed up on it.

Apparently, the Oromia region is notorious for taking forever to process this paperwork (2 months is pretty typical). The prior record for length of time to process was 4 months. But, lucky us, we have gained the crown on the longest wait, because as of Wednesday, the paperwork had still not been received by MOWA!!

Awesome.

It is still up in the air on whether we have a snowball's chance in hell of passing court on the 16th. Not only does the Oromia region paperwork need to show up, it needs to come in time for MOWA to issue it's letter. And we still don't know if our newly executed Power of Attorney will be translated/authenticated by then (I'm guessing it won't, but there is a chance that MOWA won't require it - they have seen the untranslated copies).

AND!

Once we do finally pass, whenever that is, there are new problems that are extending the time from travel after court (not specific to us - just ET adoptions generally). So instead of traveling 3-4 weeks after we pass, it will be a full 6 weeks! So, if we pass on the 16th, we won't be traveling until June anyways.

June. Seriously.

What have I learned through all of this? That it doesn't matter what I do. Last time (Abi/Hana's adoption), I got very depressed and angry. I called the agency a lot (after our 2nd failed court date - I was pretty good before that). I cried and demanded answers (but didn't get any). This time, I refused to let myself behave that way. After all, it didn't help. So, I've held my tongue and been patient. And believed it when I was told that it was all MOWA's fault.

Perhaps I should've been angrier and complained. For Abi/Hana's adoption, there was "only" a 2.5-3 month wait between our first court date and our 6th (and final) date. Although we were told that our experience was the worst case scenario, we have blown those expectations out of the water this time since our first court date was Dec 3 and IF we pass on the 16th, that will be 4.5 months between. And I'm guessing we'll have longer yet.

PLEASE don't leave any comments defending the agency and reminding me that these are the risks with international adoption. I don't need that right now. First of all, I know the risks of adoption - but that doesn't make it any easier. I know I am lucky that the adoption itself is not in jeopardy. But I don't feel so lucky right now.

And I do know that not all of the problems we have had are directly attributable to our agency. However, I am a firm believer in pro-activity and communication and that has been seriously lacking. I know that things work differently in other countries and I know that the agency representatives can't go in demanding this and that, because they have to keep up good relationships so as not to harm future adoptions. I understand all of this.

But I don't think it is an acceptable excuse.

Right now, I am being told by AAI that I am right - there are no excuses - and that they are sorry. But they don't have answers yet either.

And I just want to cry.